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Houston Water Heater Installation Yourself is a Bad Idea

Water Heater

Can you install a water heater yourself? We don’t recommend it. Water heaters are an important part of your plumbing, and incorrect Houston water heater installation can cause many problems for your home’s plumbing. What’s more, it’s also illegal in Texas to install a water heater without a permit and a plumbing license. Let’s discuss why do-it-yourself water heater installation is a bad choice and what can go wrong. 

When Do You Need Houston Water Heater Installation?

Before we get into the reasons why you should always choose a professional for Houston water heater installation, first we should explain when you may need to install a new water heater. Typically Houston homeowners install a new water heater when their current one is damaged beyond repair or is reaching the end of its expected service life. Generally, tank-style water heaters last between eight and twelve years if maintained properly. If your water heater is reaching about that age, then it may be time for a replacement. 

In other cases, you may have issues with your water heater that are impossible to repair. Usually, you can get Houston plumbing repairs for a water heater on the fritz. For instance, you might have trouble with the heating elements or the sensors in the water heater. These issues typically require a quick part replacement to get your water heater working again. However, other issues actually require a water heater replacement instead. One common issue that isn’t repairable is corrosion inside or outside the tank.

Why Hire a Houston Residential Plumber to Install a Water Heater?

So, you need a new water heater. Who do you call? Your Houston residential plumber, of course. There are many reasons to hire a professional to install your new water heater. Plumbers have the training, expertise, and tools to properly uninstall your old water heater and replace it with a new unit.

Working with an experienced plumber for Houston water heater installation means you get complete services, from supplying a new water heater that fits your home’s needs to ongoing maintenance throughout the lifetime of your water heater. 

Our licensed plumbers can install your new water heater according to code for safety and to stay on the right side of the law. Also, keep in mind that only a master plumber can get a permit to replace a water heater in Houston. Permits are required for any water heater installation projects. Given that permits are required and only licensed plumbers can get them, this effectively makes it illegal to install a water heater yourself in Houston, Texas. We’ll get into some of the negative consequences for this in a later section, but it’s important to know you’re probably breaking the law by doing this plumbing work yourself.

What’s more, you get added peace of mind when you have a professional install your water heater. Not only can you rest easy knowing the work is done correctly the first time, but you also know that your plumber will warranty their work in case something does go wrong. So, you can sleep better at night knowing you’re protected. 

Issues from DIY Houston Water Heater Installation

One of the biggest reasons you shouldn’t opt for DIY Houston water heater installation is that it can actually cause many issues. Many homeowners improperly install water heaters, which can create many hazards, including:

  • Property damage
  • Premature water heater failure
  • Water leaks
  • Legal troubles
  • Homeowner’s insurance issues
  • Fires
  • Gas leaks
  • Electrical system damage
  • Scalding water

Here are some of the most common issues from installing a water heater yourself:

Not Following Plumbing Codes for Houston Water Heater Installation

Did you know there are many codes that apply to water heaters? These range from where you can install your new water heater to which safety features are required. It’s important to remember that these codes are law, so it can create issues for you if you don’t follow proper plumbing and building codes for Houston water heater installation. This is a big risk when you install a water heater yourself.

No Permit = Legal Troubles and Invalidated Homeowner’s Insurance

As we mentioned, water heater installation projects require a permit, like any other plumbing project. Unless you’re a licensed master plumber, you can’t actually obtain this type of permit from the City of Houston. You might be tempted to simply proceed without a permit, but this can create problems. First, you could face legal issues from breaking the law. Another potential risk is that DIY water heater installation can actually invalidate your homeowner’s insurance policy. That’s right: if the insurance company finds out you have a different water heater and there’s no record of a permit, they may not pay for damages to your home (yes, even if they don’t come from the water heater itself).

Malfunctioning TPR Valve After DIY Houston Water Heater Installation

One of the biggest safety risks for do-it-yourself installation is an improperly installed TPR valve. A TPR valve on a water heater is a temperature pressure release valve. It basically helps release pressure if it builds up too high inside the water heater tank. This is important because, if the pressure gets too high, your water heater can actually explode. Therefore, it’s absolutely essential this valve is installed right and working properly at all times. The problem is that you likely don’t have the knowledge and training to properly install a TPR valve, which can lead to malfunctions that can create seriously dangerous conditions. 

Incorrect Drain Lines and Pans for Water Heater

Along the same lines, drain lines from the TPR valve are also an important part of your water heater’s safety. These drain lines take the hot water released by the TPR valve and direct it away from anyone standing near the water heater. There are very specific guidelines for proper water heater drain line installation. In some cases, you may also need a drain pan, which also must meet several specifications. If done improperly during Houston water heater installation, it could cause major problems for your home and family. For instance, it could increase the risk of getting burnt when the TPR valve is enacted and it could also cause water damage in your home.

Water Leaks After Houston Water Heater Installation

If you choose to install a water heater yourself, you might find major water leaks in your home. Plumbers have the tools and knowledge to install your water heater properly and ensure a watertight seal at all the connections. If you choose DIY, you might have water leaks that can cause damage to your home and typically require a Houston residential plumber to repair anyway. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry and simply hire a plumber from the get-go for water heater installation.

Electrical Issues and Gas Leaks from Installing a Water Heater Yourself

Water heaters need a power source, whether electricity or natural gas. Professional Houston water heater installation means your plumber knows how to properly connect your water heater to the power source. However, if you go the DIY route, you could cause many safety issues. Working with electricity without the right training and safety protocols can lead to electrocution. Even if you escape unscathed, improper water heater installation can damage your electrical system and increase the risk for fires. 

One of the major concerns with natural gas is a gas leak, which also presents many dangers to you and your family. A gas leak can make people sick and even lead to death from asphyxiation. Natural gas is also incredibly explosive, which means even a small spark could cause a fire or explosion in your home. Therefore, we recommend working with a licensed plumber for anything involving natural gas lines, including installing a new water heater.

Santhoff Plumbing Company – Your Trusted Plumber since 1974

Looking for a highly rated plumbing company in Houston? Look no further than our team at Santhoff Plumbing. We’ve been proudly serving the Greater Houston area with high quality plumbing services for 48 years! We are a local, family-owned and operated company dedicated to providing friendly service and unparalleled plumbing services. Whether you need Houston plumbing repairs, replacements, or installations, we have the skills and knowledge you need for your home or business. Get in touch now to request service or call us 24/7 at (713) 360-2185 for plumbing emergencies.

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